A fair game

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Author : Riddhi Doshi Date : 9/12/2007

Women are taking the field with renewed zeal, thanks to 'Chak De'

"Yeh chakki-belan chalane wali Bharatiya nari hai. Yeh kabhi knicker wicker pahan ke hockey ke maidan par utar sakti hai kya?"
The 'sports administrator', who spoke these infamous words on screen, had to eat his words in the end when the 'Chak De' girls came home triumphant with the hockey world cup. The movie, it seems, didn't just end up with the usual feel good factor and a tax-free tag. The SRK reel effect in 'Chak De' seems to have rubbed off on the real as more and more girls seem to be taking up active sports.

Shah Rukh Khan's 'Chak De India' has got the goody girls hooked on to sports. "It's a revolution," says Anjali Shah of Premier Indian Football Academy (PIFA), adding, "The number of inquiries and enrolment of girls in the game has gone up by 50 per cent this year. In fact for the very first time, women above 20 years also want to learn the game and play for the country." PIFA is all set to form a woman's football team after four women insisted on learning the game and forming a woman's team. PIFAis on the lookout for 15 women to complete their women's football team. And as far as hockey is concerned, the sport has suddenly received a huge momentum. Ignatius D'Souza, sub coach of the Bombay Hockey Women's Association informs that four Mumbai schools namely St Paul Convent High School at Dadar, Pawar Public School in Bhandup, Canossa Convent in Andheri and St Teresa's Convent in Santacruz have introduced hockey in their sports curriculum.

Even colleges are fast catching up with the game. Nisha Nair, the girl who plays Soi Moi in 'Chak De India' is an ace hockey player in real life as well. She along with Ranjan Negi, the one who taught Chak De girls to play hockey, encouraged the Poddar College girls to form their own team. Nisha says, "I felt great when Poddar College actually formed a girls' hockey team. Things are changing. Everybody around me seem to have suddenly grown fond of sports. It feels great."

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